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Rauner creates opioid task force, campaign promotes

Thursday, Sep 7, 2017

* Press release from yesterday…

Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed Executive Order 17-05, creating the governor’s Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force.

The task force will be co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti and Dr. Nirav D. Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. The task force will look at strategies to prevent expansion of the opioid crisis, treat and promote the recovery of individuals with opioid-use disorder, and reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths.

We already have an Illinois Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council, which works on preparedness and prevention.

* Also from yesterday…

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, several state agency officials, stakeholders, and advocates today helped release the State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan. A coalition of state agencies has developed a strategic framework that outlines what Illinois needs to do to address the opioid crisis and why it needs to be done.

“The opioid epidemic knows no neighborhood, no color, and no class. It is not confined to alleys in urban settings, nor isolated in rural communities,” Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti said. “Illinois needs a comprehensive opioid strategy that destigmatizes addiction and appropriately aligns resources across state agencies in partnership with community priorities.”

Since 2013, the number of heroin deaths in Illinois has nearly doubled, and the number of prescription opioid deaths has almost quadrupled. Last year, there were 1,889 opioid overdose deaths, an increase of 76 percent from 2013. Recent analyses of death records in Illinois shows that overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids have increased more than any other category of opioids. The largest increase was in the number of deaths involving fentanyl, and drugs similar to fentanyl, which led to a tenfold increase in synthetic opioid overdose deaths between 2013 and 2016.

Earlier today, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an Executive Order creating the Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force. The task force will look at strategies to prevent expansion of the opioid crisis, treat and promote the recovery of individuals with opioid-use disorder, and reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths. The task force will be co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti and Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“The death toll continues to rise exponentially, and, if left unchecked, estimates show that more than 2,700 people in Illinois will die from opioid overdoses in 2020,” Dr. Shah said. “The opioid crisis is not something that can simply be solved with more treatment, increased prevention, or more arrests. It will take all of us, in all capacities to end the crisis.”

The goal of the plan is to reduce the anticipated number of opioid-related deaths by 33 percent in three years. The plan identifies three areas of focus: prevention, treatment/recovery, and response. To address those three areas of focus, the state has identified six priorities:

    • Safer prescribing and dispensing of opioids

    • Education and stigma reduction

    • Data monitoring and communication

    • Increasing access to care

    • Supporting justice-involved populations

    • Increasing naloxone access and use

…The state will collaborate actively with other key stakeholders, including the Illinois Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council, to build on the plan’s framework.

Much of that and more is being funded now.

* From the governor’s campaign…

Wednesday, Governor Bruce Rauner signed an executive order establishing the Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force to address the epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse in Illinois.

Aiming to reduce the more than 1900 expected opioid-related deaths in Illinois this year, the Task Force will focus on preventing high risk individuals from developing an addiction, as well as treating overdose cases through training and availability of medications that can help revive patients.

Take a look at some of the coverage from Wednesday’s order signing:

Look, good politics is good governance and we definitely need a better strategy for dealing with the opioid situation. Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.

I just hope they aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel in order to score a few points.

* Meanwhile, a joint House and Senate hearing was held yesterday on legalizing and taxing marijuana. It was chock full of 1980s talking points from law enforcement

Also testifying Wednesday was a panel representing the Illinois States’ Attorneys Association, which is opposed to recreational marijuana legalization.

“I think everyone would agree that government’s most important function is public safety,” DuPage County States’ Attorney Bob Berlin said. “It’s our position that legalizing marijuana does not advance public safety at all. In fact, it moves the ball in the other direction.”

Berlin said marijuana is addictive and can lead to users trying even more dangerous drugs, such as opioids.

But Neill Franklin, executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, said in his 34 years as a cop, he’s seen firsthand that prohibition isn’t working and it’s time to legalize marijuana.

You know what leads quite a large number of people to try opioids? Doctor prescriptions. Let’s try living in the real world.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

19 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 1:02 pm:

    I think there are a few goals from this EO that go beyond what the current task force has been addressing, which could be helpful. Especially data and communication between health officials and law enforcement. If it’s similar to the systems in place in some other States, it could lead to much better warnings and preparedness.


  2. - Baloneymous - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 1:05 pm:

    Marijuana being scapegoated as a/the gateway drug is just one reason why opioids will continue to kill people. Some of these law enforcement guys need to wake up and read actual facts and figures, not fall back on 1960s mentalities.


  3. - Jocko - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 1:05 pm:

    Elvis Presley: 1/8/35 - 8/16/77
    Willie Nelson: 4/29/33 - ???


  4. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 1:48 pm:

    Legalizing marijuana would be a gateway–to criminal justice reform, reduction of the black market and associated violence, expanded personal freedom, economic growth, much-needed tax revenue, etc.


  5. - Small town taxpayer - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 1:48 pm:

    “Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.”

    I wonder if this is true in the city of Chicago today? With the increase in gun deaths in recent years I wonder if murders using guns are not more common for Chicago residents under age 50? The last time I checked, a number of years ago, there were about 4 gun murders for every 3 opioid overdose in the city with both increasing.


  6. - charles in charge - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 1:52 pm:

    To paraphrase Neill Franklin’s testimony, one thing we know for sure is that arrests for marijuana possession are a “gateway” into the criminal justice system.


  7. - Anonymous - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 1:52 pm:

    Until you demand fair wages and benefits, you will always have people who turn to drugs.


  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 1:54 pm:

    People who have jobs and can support their families dont get high.


  9. - Annoin' - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    Another powerful task force from GovJunk. awesome
    Meanwhil GJ’s DC favorite Betsy DeVos says she wants to hear from the many sides on campus sexual assault. Many sides? Hmm, that would be victims and attackers….very Tumpish.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 1:57 pm:

    ===People who have jobs and can support their families dont get high.===

    Maybe in Madeupville that’s true, but the stories that begin “I had a great job, took care of my family, but… ” are far too often heard pertaining to drug use.


  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 2:12 pm:

    ==Hmm, that would be victims and attackers==

    Or perhaps persons like the group at Duke


  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 2:18 pm:

    ===People who have jobs and can support their families dont get high. ===

    Must be so pleasant in your little world.


  13. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 3:24 pm:

    It’s true.

    Since I began employment and supporting my family, I no longer get high.

    Now I just drive around in a minivan full of my kids and my wife, praying for the Rapture.


  14. - Lawyer - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 3:45 pm:

    This EO was signed yesterday. Why hasn’t it been posted yet?


  15. - Matt Jones - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    “You know what leads quite a large number of people to try opioids? Doctor prescriptions. Let’s try living in the real world.”
    Which was specifically acknowledged by the panel of prosecutors in their testimony. With Respect, they do live in the real world.


  16. - DuPage Bard - Thursday, Sep 7, 17 @ 4:11 pm:

    Interesting. Did the EO mention how the Governor issued a veto for the exact same thing that was legislated two years ago?
    Wonder if this is the type of coordination that his lawyer was talking about in that memo?
    From the press release to political side in minutes.


  17. - Late to the Party - Friday, Sep 8, 17 @ 8:37 am:

    My wife suffers from occasional and severe stomach/intestinal pain. Over the past decade she has tried many pain relievers. The *only* one she has tried that works is hydrocodone (Norco). She may take 6 or 8 per month.

    This is one of the drugs that is being abused by some folks. I hope the solution to the abuse problem is not to cut off my wife’s access to the meds that keep her from suffering needlessly.

    My point is that not everyone who uses these drugs abuses them.

    An analogy might be alcohol; some abuse it but most do not. The answer to those who abuse it does not include Prohibition.


  18. - krazee44 - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 1:01 am:

    Marijuana is no more of a gateway drug than alcohol. Young adults can get alcohol just as easy as pot. Drs can do their part by not prescribing opioids to minors, schools can have mandatory classes teaching the dangers of opioids
    Illinois is constantly complaining about not having a budget when the answer is right in front of them. The millions of dollars they’d recieve from taxing it medically and recreationally.
    I have a whole list of medical problems only opioids canot help. My Dr agRees that marijuana would help extremely but his malpractice insurance tells him not to prescribe it so he has no choice but to prescribe opioids. If marijuana was ablestablished to be prescribed more, less opioids would be prescribed and our budget deficit would go down which sounds like a win/win situation


  19. - krazee44 - Tuesday, Sep 12, 17 @ 1:08 am:

    That should have read list of medical problems only opioids CAN HELP
    AND IF MARIJUANA WAS ABLE TO BE PRESCRIBED…….
    I hate predictive text


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